Oh No! What's A Birth Plan?
So you've never
heard of the term, Birth Plan? Don't fret because
you're not alone!
We're here to tell
you the low down on Birth Plans and answer all of your
questions: Do I need one? Should I have one? What do
I include? Does the medical staff read them?
or birth preferences, communicate your choices and desires in
writing for your birth to the hospital staff. There
are many websites and books which list all of the items that
could possibly be included so don't you worry.
Why do I need one?
are helpful to you
and your partner so that you can decide what your birth options
are in advance and start the dialog before the
A Birth Plan is not
required, but we know that having a Birth Plan instructs nurses
and doctors ahead of time so we can concentrate on other
things... like pushing, breathing...(you still with us?)
Once you are
familiar with your options, list only those few preferences
which are most important to you. (If you want an unmedicated
birth without medical intervention, just say that!)
Do your homework.
Don't include any procedures that are prohibited or irrelevant
at your birth place. For instance, no need to ask for a water
birth tub if there isn't one in your facility!
Add a baby picture of yourself or, if you already have a child,
your child's picture. If you have a sense of humor, let the
Birth Plan reflect that (humor always helps). If
you 've had a previous hospital experience that was particularly
good -- or bad -- mention that too.
If there are items
(such as eating and drinking during labor) which your
doctor must approve, be sure to discuss this ahead of time and
ask your doctor to put a note in your chart so he or she doesn't
need to be asked by a nurse to confirm his or her approval when
the time comes.
Your best bet is to
print a few extra copies of the Birth Plan so that you, your
partner and your Doula can each carry a copy -- you never
know where you'll be when labor begins.
If you want to be
sure the nurses will read the Birth Plan, attach it
to a food basket
where they'll be sure to find it!
Tracy Hartley of
provided us with this Belly Scoop - check out her website for
more information on Birth Plans and birthing options.
Tracy loves being a Belly Scooper and is a member of DASC (Doula
Association of Southern California) and has participated in more
than 100 births.